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Fox News reportedly faces new legal trouble for sexual harassment

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A New York state agency is investigating the network, according to Attorney Lisa Bloom

Posters of Fox News Channel personalities are displayed at the News Corp. headquarters in New York, Wednesday, April 19, 2017. CREDIT: AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

Attorney Lisa Bloom reported on Twitter on Monday that the New York State Division of Human Rights (SDHR) is investigating Fox News for claims of sexual harassment and retaliation.

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Bloom’s law firm filed a request for investigation with the SDHR on April 11th. Bloom also represents Dr. Wendy Walsh, who claims that former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly propositioned her, then retaliated when she refused by rescinding an offer of a contributor spot on the network.

“Over the past thirteen years, dozens of women have reported egregious sexual harassment and retaliation at Fox News, with new claims constantly coming to light,” the complaint says. “The company frequently pays women to remain silent and leave the company while the perpetrators and enablers keep their jobs. Others are scared into silence by the company’s well-documented intimidation tactics, including using its giant media platform to smear their reputations. Nearly all of the victims were not only driven out of Fox News, but the television industry entirely.”

Bloom’s complaint says that since many of the victims signed confidentiality agreements or are barred by time-limits from bringing their complaints to the legal system, they cannot raise the issue with the SDHR themselves, hence the firm’s filing.

The SDHR did not immediately respond to ThinkProgress’ request for confirmation.

The report would signal a new wave in the network’s ongoing legal troubles, linked to what reports and allegations indicate is a pervasive culture of sexual discrimination.

Last year, former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed suit against the network’s then-CEO Roger Ailes, alleging sexual harassment and gender discrimination. The network eventually settled with Carlson for $20 million, but her suit opened the floodgates of women coming forward with their own allegations. The scandal led to Ailes’ resignation.

Gretchen Carlson’s Lawsuit Opened A Floodgate Of Harassment Allegations Against Roger Ailes

Then this year, the New York Times reported that the network had paid over $13 million over the years to quiet allegations of harassment by Fox News Host Bill O’Reilly. The report led to a spate of women going public with their stories, and ultimately to O’Reilly’s ousting from the network after advertisers abandoned his nightly talk show.

Taken in sum, however, the women’s stories indicate that the problem went beyond the alleged predilections of two of the network’s most powerful men. The allegations and reports paint a picture of systemic sexual harassment and a culture of gender discrimination within the network.

“It’s not about Roger Ailes. It’s about a culture,” Gabriel Sherman, who wrote the book on Roger Ailes and his role in the network, told NPR in July 2016. “And it was a culture where this type of behavior was encouraged and protected. The allegations are that women routinely had to sleep with or be propositioned by their manager — in many cases, Roger Ailes, but I’ve reported on another manager who did this — in exchange for promotions.”

Fox News has also retained the law firm Paul Weiss to conduct internal investigations of the harassment claims against Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly.


Fox News reportedly faces new legal trouble for sexual harassment was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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